Federal Facilities:

SEC Operations Center Lease Appears Reasonable

GGD-92-39BR: Published: Feb 14, 1992. Publicly Released: Feb 14, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed allegations by an anonymous Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) employee regarding an SEC lease for office and computer space for an Operations Center.

GAO found that: (1) leasing the Operations Center in Alexandria, Virginia, compared to more expensive space in the District of Columbia will save SEC about $900,000 annually despite the additional costs of operating the new center; (2) SEC should recover its initial cost of moving in about 4 years; (3) SEC did not move its computers to allow the Chairman to relocate his office, but to allow more modern and spacious computer facilities that were less costly to lease than the headquarters facilities were and to provide an off-site, emergency backup facility for its computer systems; (4) only one office at the Operations Center has a direct overhead view of a trash dumpster, but some SEC employees, including minorities, have partial views of dump trucks; (5) the Chairman did not plan to build a fitness center as part of his new office, but SEC plans to install a fitness center open to all employees in the headquarters building; (6) the Virginia facility has access to public transportation, although not as conveniently as at the headquarters building, and free parking is available; and (7) the risk of files being lost or misplaced during transportation is low since, SEC requires employees to hand-carry sensitive documents between headquarters and the new facility.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The recommendation is no longer applicable because SEC plans to stay in its current headquarters building, and GSA will not take over the space.

    Recommendation: To protect the government's interests in the event that SEC selects a new headquarters, the Chairman, SEC, should direct SEC officials not to enter into a long-term succeeding lease for the existing headquarters building or renovate it until: (1) the General Services Administration (GSA) commits in writing to take over the remaining term of the lease if SEC vacates the space in 1994 or 1995; and (2) SEC and GSA agree on how to configure and renovate the top floor to meet government needs for the space over the long term, thus avoiding a possible second renovation if GSA takes over the space.

    Agency Affected: United States Securities and Exchange Commission

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The recommendation is no longer applicable because SEC plans to stay in its current headquarters building, and GSA will not take over the space.

    Recommendation: If SEC and GSA cannot reach agreement on those matters, SEC should not enter into a long-term lease for its present headquarters building unless SEC decides not to move to a new headquarters building.

    Agency Affected: United States Securities and Exchange Commission

 

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